British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday celebrated the birth of an "extraordinary Constitution" that established India "as the biggest sovereign democracy in the world", and said that India and UK are working side by side in the fight against coronavirus.
Johnson was due to be in New Delhi as the chief guest at the annual parade on the occasion of India's Republic Day. His visit had to be postponed in light of the emergence of a new, deadlier variant of Covid-19 in the UK at the end of last year.
In his video message, the UK PM reiterated his plan to visit India in the coming months.
"I was hugely looking forward to joining you for this important occasion at the kind invitation of my friend Prime Minister Modi, alas our common struggle against Covid has kept me in London," said Johnson.
"As I speak, our two countries are working side by side to develop, produce and distribute vaccines that will help to free humanity from the pandemic. And thanks to the combined efforts of Britain, India and many other nations, we are on the road to success against Covid. So, I look forward to visiting India later this year, strengthening our friendship, and striving for the quantum leap in our relationship that Prime Minister Modi and I have both pledged to achieve," he said.
Addressing the Indian diaspora in the UK, he added, "All over the world, this virus is compelling people to stay apart, including family and friends in Britain and India, who form what Prime Minister Modi has called the 'living bridge' between us.
"But for now, let me wish everyone in India as well as those celebrating here in Britain, a very happy Republic Day," the British prime minister said.
With PTI inputs